Running a marathon is a very long process. Once you’ve gotten this far in your preparation, your body has soaked up all of the training from many weeks of hard work. Now is the time to put yourself to the test. Putting yourself through a final exam is essential if you want to go into the race with enough confidence and guarantee your success.
HOW LONG SHOULD THE TEST TAKE?
It depends on your level and your goal:
- If you plan to finish the 42K in less than 5 minutes per kilometer, try to go for a run that lasts a little over 2 hours, running at your marathon goal pace.
- If you are going to run at a slower pace, do a 2h30m training session at a pace similar to your goal pace. This will be enough to measure your ability and get a feel for the race.
WHEN TO DO THE TEST
This is a very common and appropriate question. If you do it too close to race day, the fatigue you’ve built up can affect your performance in competition. However, if you do it too early, it won’t be a very true test, since you won’t have reached your peak shape yet.
The ideal time is approximately 15 days before the marathon. But be very careful, because you need to follow several pieces of advice so the test run doesn’t end up doing you more harm than good.
TIPS TO DO A GOOD FINAL TEST
- Go into it well-rested. Try to do a lighter training regime in the week leading up to it, especially the 2 days before.
- Rest very well on the days following the test, since it will be a very tough training session. Recover with very light training sessions or active rest to achieve optimal recovery and avoid building up fatigue.
- Fuel yourself properly during the test. Treat your nutrition and hydration as if it were competition day so your body can get a feel for the effort required in the real thing. It will also help you get used to eating and drinking while you run. This is also the time to try the gels that you will use during the marathon.
- Don’t get off pace! Control your pace very well. Make sure you don’t overdo it. At this point in the preparation, any mistake can be very harmful.
Enjoy the end of the journey. Live the last week of preparation as the reward for weeks of effort. Now that the hard work is done, you just have to wait until race day to run as well as you can. Download the training plan here for the final week of preparation, and let’s go get those 42K! Best of luck, runners.